In this unusual heatwave we’ve had, most of my big leafed plants have sulked in the shade, but none have died (yet). 110 degrees with no humidity is rough on most plants. I can see 50 foot tall trees in my neighborhood that look wilted and sad, so I think that if I can keep most of my plants alive through this broiler cycle I’ll count it as a win.
Some of my plants actually like the hot, arid conditions we’re having. The cactus, agaves, succulents and other desert plants, of course!
Echinopsis pachanoi has been growing faster than I ever thought cacti could grow. I think sometimes that I can actually see it getting taller in front of me. Seriously.
Usually a volunteer plant means weeds. My favorite volunteer plant(s) was, or I guess still is, a pair of Euphorbia milii that showed up in a Schizobasis intricata that I brought home from Portland Nursery. I still have both the Euphorbia and Schizobasis, and they both live happily in the raised bed inside the greenhouse. They both have grown like crazy this year. I don’t know why I didn’t get a real greenhouse earlier. If anybody out there has a lawn, do yourself a favor and get rid of it to make way for a greenhouse.
These plants have lived in pots most of their existence, but I’m doing my best to stay focused today on those that are still in pots.
Aloe ‘Rooikappie’ is doing incredibly well. It grows as fast as I ever want an aloe to grow, and pups readily. I’ve divided my original pot from last fall into 4 separate plants, and I think I could probably divide each one again before the year is up. They aren’t small plants, either.
Euphorbia lactea ‘White Ghost’ is a cactus look-alike that I picked up in July at the Oregon Cactus and Succulent Society annual sale. It may end up being planted in the greenhouse, but at this point I’m not sure.
Carnegiea gigantea is a plant that I’ve always wanted, but never fully committed to getting. Buying a mature specimen is out of the question, because of price and rarity. Germinating seeds would be economical and totally possible, as they are readily available on the internet. They grow large, but at such a slow pace that I will be retired before it becomes majestic. It just so happened that I found one for sale this spring, at a very reasonable price. The best part about it was that it was already 14 years old! I figured that I would regret it if I didn’t bring it home with me.
Boophone disticha is another plant that I’ve wanted for a long time, but never saw for sale. A few years ago, I visited Grassy Knoll Plants where I saw a black nursery pot with a few suspicious strap leaves popping out. It turns out that the owner had come up with some B disticha seeds directly from Africa, and germinated them a few months before I came along. I gladly bought the pot, which contained 7 plants. One of them ended up dying over the first winter, and I traded another seedling for some other plants. I still have 5 of them left, and they seem to be doing well. Apparently it takes a decade for them to get big enough to flower, so I’ll have to be patient for a while longer.
This past winter saw me yearning for warmer weather (maybe I shouldn’t have yearned so hard) and I bought a little pot of Echinopsis chamaecereus to propagate up. So far it has been growing at a fast clip, and I have probably double the amount of this cactus that I started with.
Most of my plants are relatively harmless. Some (ok… plenty of them) look dangerous, but really aren’t that bad. One plant, however, is truly vicious. Hechtia argentea is beautiful to look at, and deadly to try to repot. Or water. Or fertilize. Really, it’s just a plant that should be viewed from a short distance. I’ve received more injuries from this thing than any of my other plants. Possibly combined.
The rock wall at the front of the house has responded favorably to all this nice desert weather as well, but it’s really hot outside and I don’t have pictures of it yet. We’ll have to wait and see what’s changed up there until next time.